Saturday, September 24, 2011

#65 Moondance--Van Morrison

Ever since I was a little kid, I thought Van Morrison was a black person because I couldn't imagine a world in which a white dood could sing with so much depth, meaning, and soul.  When I found out he was white a few years ago, it just freaking blew my mind.  no way; I envisioned him as this awesomely tall black man who held the mic with conviction while he rocked the gypsy outta everyone's souls.  

This album stirred up so many memories of my childhood that I hesitated even writing a blog about it because nobody likes childhood stories.  They are awkward on such venues, but I'm all for awkward so here it goes:

When I began listening to the album and it got to "moondance," I recalled being about six-years-old standing on my dad's feet encased in cowboy boots (yes, we're from Texas, you wear boots with work clothes) insisting he dance with me when he would come home from work.  I remember the smell of the office--an acrid dry cleaning smell mixed with paper, ink, sand-weights that hold down large maps, and sterile air perfumed with fluorescent lights--on my father's starched shirts and the color of this little red pen he wore in his front breast pocket.  

I remembered sneaking into mom and dad's bedroom while the album played so I could listen to "and it stoned me" alone under their bed while everyone else was in the living room.  They had "surround sound" back then and "OMFG" it would play in the back room if you hit the right button on the five disk cd changer.

I recalled "come running" and "crazy love" being played on the way to and from ballet lessons.  Everyone hated being around me when the album was on because I only ever wanted to hear "moondance."

When "into the mystic" came on, I recalled being 19 and watching my brother and sister-in-law dance alone together at their wedding reception.  and promptly downed two glasses of red wine because at that point in my life, love and marriage were illusions and stupid social constructions.

I think that Van Morrison is just good for the soul.  My new job has been very stressful and demanding of my time, emotional and mental stability.  It has required me to invent a personality in order to cope with the never-ending responsibilities and tasks asked of me.  The panic attacks and the utter terror I feel moments before I walk into the door, have been briefly subsided this week thanks to Van Morrison playing, "Brand New Day" on my drive to work; day in and day out as I bail out the titanic with a dixie cup, so to speak.

Van and I are the only people on the road at 6:30 am, and the only people leaving work around 8:00 pm, and I know I am lucky to have a job; and it could be worse, I have nothing but white-whines to share with all of you-- but for seventeen glorious minutes of my 24 hour day, moments of panic subside; for however brief, by the sound of a saxophone, a piano, a steady beat, and a voice that transcends my mind to places where the responsibility was not yet mine to fulfill; the weight of the world not yet on my shoulders, and the joy of dancing, of watching people dance, of hiding under a bed, of living in moments when life was not yet full of panic and terror begin to flashbulb into my head.  And then I pull into my parking space, take a deep breath, turn off the ignition.  The music ceases and whether I'm ready or not, I force myself to begin a Brand New Day.

What the people with less stressful jobs and all-you-can-take potty breaks have to say about Moondance:

"That was the type of band I dig," Morrison said of the Moondance sessions. "Two horns and a rhythm section — they're the type of bands that I like best." Morrison took that soul-band lineup and blended it with jazz, blues, poetry and vivid memories of his Irish childhood, until songs such as the title track, "And It Stoned Me" and "Caravan" felt like a lucid dream. On the sprightly "Everyone," Morrison turns the title over and over in his mouth, not scatting so much as searching for the sound of magic. One song, "Into the Mystic," serves as an apt summary: To listen to the album is to get your passport stamped for Morrison's world of ecstatic visions.

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